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Mr. La Farge was the first American to manufacture glass to suit himself. Like the famous potters, Bernard Palissy of the last century, and Jean Carriès of to-day, he supervise. every detail in the preparation of the raw material, studying the action of the heat and the mystery of chemical action in the production of his enamels. Always original in his work, he bends the material to suit his needs, treating conventionalities as so many obstacles to be overcome, working himself out, whether in painting or in glass, in whatever direction his artistic instincts may lead. It is through his constant industry and eager penetration that the name of Mr. John La Farge has become synonymous for that which is best in art in America, and it is with humiliation that we must record that the one art in which it is acknowledged by all Europe we excel, the art of stained glass, was not given the slightest recognition in the art department of the World's Fair.
AS A MAN OF CULTURE. Mr. La Farge is a man of literary instincts and cultivation. His letters from Japan showed a keen faculty of observation and a sympathetic impressionability that put itself in touch with that which is elevated and noble in Japanese life, the antithesis to the attitude of Pierre Loti. His lectures at the Metropolitan Museum (New York) last winter indicate a marked catholicity of taste, and are perhaps the most important utterances on art ever delivered. in America.
Mr. La Farge is sixty years old, but looks fortyfive. It is characteristic of the man that, when asked. with what picture he would respond to the invitation of the French Government, which has tendered him the further compliment of representation in the Luxembourg, he should reply : “My very best, of course; I have not painted it yet.”
THE “ WATSON WINDOW" (LA FARGE).
(Exhibit in Paris, 1889.)
SIR JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS, BART., R.A.
A CHARACTER SKETCH.
BOWED-DOWN and world-wearied old man n stood at the foot of a stately marble staircase in a house at Palace Gate. He was quaintly dressed, and bis rugged, thoughtful and time-worn features wore a curious expression as he gazed wonderingly upon the splendor of the entrance hall of the Westend mansion to which he had paid a visit. For himself, this old man had been content during more than forty years with a cheap and unpretending dwelling in a modest street leading off the Thames embankment at Chelsea. Still he gazed at the marble pavement, at the dado, and at the white inarble columns, and still his wonder grew ; until turning, at length, to the handsome and picturesquely-attired gentleman who stood at his side, he blurted out a characteristic question : "Has paint done all this, Mr. Millais ?” “ It bas,” the artist replied, with a laugh. “Then,” rejoined the old man-who was none other than Thomas Carlyle-" then, all I have to say is that there are more fools in the world than I thought there were.” The career and the character of the elder of the two men who thus conversed together in the year 1877 are known to all who read books ; it is, therefore, with the younger man-with the successful painter, Sir John Everett Millais, R.A.—that the present article will mainly concern itself.
I. BIRTH, PARENTAGE, AND EARLY
TRAINING. John Everett Millais was born at Southampton in the year 1829. He is, therefore, sixty-five years of age - that is to say, a year older than his life-long friend the President of the Royal Academy, seven years older than Mr. Alma Tadema, six years older than Mr. Orchardson, four years older than Sir Edward Burne-Jones, and twenty-six years younger than his vigorous and venerable colleague at the Royal Academy, Mr. Sidney Cooper, the animal painter. The name Millais suggests at once the French origin of the family to which Sir John belongs. His ancestors appear to have held for centuries a place among the lesser landlords of the island of Jersey, where the name is said to have existed long before the Norman conquest of England. The subject of this sketch, however, was, as we have seen, born at Southampton, and, in spite of his French ancestry, stands out among the representatives of the modern British school of painting as one of the most genuinely native of them all.
THE FRENCH ELEMENT IN HIS CHARACTER. But the French element is by no means lacking in Sir John Millais' character. He is brave, and ready at all times to hold his own; he has a great im
patience of control ; the passion for new things which possessed him in his youth still exists ; he is lighthearted and he is full of confidence. Added to these more distinctly French traits are the steadiness of aim, the sturdiness of purpose, the frankness of speech, the brusqueness of manner, and the love of outdoor life and field sports which mark the Teuton. These things manifested themselves while Millais was yet a boy, as also did his invincible and inborn desire to express himself in the language of form and color.
“THE LIGHTS OF LONDON." “My boy, those are the lights of London.” This was the answer that Mrs. Millais gave her eight-yearold son as they approached the great city, just fiftyseven years ago. He was traveling with his parents on the top of the mail coach which ran between Southampton and London, and he saw in front of him a red glow in the sky such as he had never beheld before 'No doubt he felt, f fore. No doubt he felt for the moment like the hero of "Locksley Hall"_no doubt ... his spirit leapt within him to be gone before him
then, Underneath the light he looked at, in among the throngs
of men. His second day “among the throngs of men" was the most eventful of his life. His mother (to whom, as he has more than once confessed, he owes everything) took him to see Sir Martin Archer Shee, the then President of the Royal Academy. The boy, it seems, had been in the habit of making sketches, and, as generally happens, these sketches were thought a very great deal of by his friends. As generally happens also, a leading artist was asked to give an opinion upon them. Sir Frederic Leighton's father approached Hiram Powers, the American sculptor, in a similar case. Mrs. Millais called upon the P.R.A. The boy's talents were thought a great deal of by his friends (she said); but she dared not trust merely to the opinion of friends. Would Sir Martin kindly tell her whether it would be prudent for his father to bring him up as an artist ? “BRING THE BOY UP TO BE A CHIMNEY-SWEEPER.”
The fond mother must have been somewhat startled by the answer which she got from the President. “Madam,” he exclaimed, “ you had better bring the boy up to be a chimney-sweeper.” “But surely, Sir Martin, you will look at my son's drawings before you decide?" asked Mrs. Millais. “Very well," replied the great man, “let us see them." Thereupon a portfolio was brought up from the hall, and opened and inspected by the president. He examined the drawings for some time ; and then, placing his hand
THE ART EDUCATION OF WATTS AND OF LEIGHTON.
It is interesting to compare the art education of Sir John Millais with that of two distinguished colleagues of his at the Royal Academy-Mr. G. F. Watts and Sir Frederic Leighton. Mr. Watts, like Millais, entered the Academy Schools when very young, but
upon the little boy's head, asked him if he did all those drawings by himself. Young Millais choked, and was unable to say a word. But the look upon his face gave an affirmative answer to the question. Thereupon the President gave an opinion which wild horses would be unable to drag from his successor, Sir Frederic Leighton, in respect of the work of a child of eight—"Madam,” he said, “it is your duty to bring this boy up to the profession." And the wisdom of his advice has been fully justified by the career of the boy in question.
HIS ART EDUCATION.
Young Millais was a prodigy. He was only nine years old when he gained a medal for drawing at the Society of Arts. He then studied for two years at Mr. Sass' school, becoming at the age of eleven a student at the Royal Academy of Arts. Here his self-reliance stood him in excellent stead. He wanted no interference on the part of any teacher ; all he desired, in the life-school as elsewhere, was the opportunity for study. And this opportunity he got. “The advantage of a teacher is very small," he remarked in answer to a question some years afterward; “the students gain more from one another. Some are superior to others, and those who are of inferior ability learn from those who are better than themselves. The teaching which they get among themselves is of infinitely greater use than that which they would derive from a teacher appointed by the Acadenıy. .. I think you give a student everything he wants when you give him the means of study. I do not think that education will make an artist. Lect. ures upon painting I think are of no use. I think that practical lectures--such as lectures upon anatomy and perspective-are of use; but lectures upon painting, unless delivered by a painter who would be able practically to do something before the students, are of no use... Knowledge must be gained by the student himself before it becomes of value.”
SIR J. E. MILLAIS.
finding there was no teaching he very soon ceased to attend. He discovered that he could learn quite as much without attending the Academy, and with more ease to himself. Dr. Leighton, although he warmly sympathized with his son's desire to become a painter, and, indeed, furtively encouraged it, did not permit him seriously to take up the study of art until he had received a first-class, all-round general education. The President is consequently a linguist and a great reader; Sir John Millais, on the other hand, if we may believe an old friend, although once as bi-lingual
as a Russian, had in the old days so little care for not merely because of their technical merits, but beconversation or reading-what he liked, it is said, cause of the simplicity, earnestness and truthfulness was going out with Leach to the meetings of hounds, which characterized the spirit of their art. There or shooting, or whist—that he lost all his French were seven Brethren in all. The names of Hunt, from disuse.
Rossetti and Millais have already been mentioned ; Millais was a great favorite at the Royal Academy. and in addition to these three painters were Woolner, He was spoken of as their “crack student;" and Collinson (a weakling who soon seceded from the when, upon one occasion, a work of his was hung in body), F. G. Stephens (the accomplished art critic of a less conspicuous place than its merits seemed to the the Athenæum), and William Rossetti, a critic and young artist to demand, he made such an uproar that, poet. The Brotherhood started a short-lived magaas William Bell Scott puts it, “ the old fellows werezine, which they called The Germ, and, what is more glad to give in and place him better.” This, it must to the purpose, they managed to attract the attention be remembered, was in 1855, and during the presi- and secure the enthusiastic advocacy of John Ruskin. dency of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake. Millais' amuse
MR. RUSKIN ON THE PRE-RAPHAELITES. ment was to go about and rehearse the scene that took place at the Academy between him and the “ The Pre-Raphaelites," said Mr. Ruskin. in the ancient magnates, especially with the horse painter,
first letter which he wrote to the Times in their deAbraham Cooper.
fense, “ intend to surrender no advantage which the EARLY WORKS.
knowledge and invention of the present time can Meanwhile the distinguished painter who forms the
afford their art. They intend to return to early days subject of this sketch had executed several works of
in this point only, that, as far as in them lies, they considerable importance. His first exhibited picture,
will draw either what they see, or what they suppose “Pizarro Seizing the Inca of Peru," was shown at the
might have been the actual facts of the scene they Royal Academy in 1846, when he was just nineteen
desire to represent, irrespective of any conventional years old. It was followed by “Dunstan's Emissa
rules of picture making ; and they have chosen their ries seizing Queen Elgiva," by a colossal cartoon for
unfortunate, though not inaccurate, name because the decoration of Westminster Hall, by “The Carpen
all artists did this before Raphael's time, and after ter's Shop," and by other works. For “ The Carpen.
Raphael's time did not this, but sought to paint fair ter's Shop” certain shavings from a joiner's yard were
pictures, rather than to represent stern facts, of obtained for the artist to draw from. “I came to
which the consequence has been that, from Raphael's this conclusion," says the writer who records the fact,
time to this day, historical art has been in acknowl“simply from having observed that the shavings were
edged decadence." The new school, it may be oblying on the carpenter's floor in the picture, one or
served, ascribed to art, in direct terms, a distinctly two here and there, like individnal studies, not in
moral purpose. In the case both of historical paintmasses and heaps as the artist would have found they
ing and of landscape, the system, was one of microdid in any real joiner's workshop." Nevertheless the
scopic analysis. By strict scrutiny and by the most picture pleased greatly ; its combination of symbol.
faithful rendering of all that they saw, the Preism and naturalism winning high and well-deserved
Raphaelite painters hoped to become closely united praise. It was about this time that Sir John Millais
with truth, the beginning and end of all morality. -who had won a name for himself both as a painter
The painters of the Renaissance, the supreme and as an illustrator of books-formally became a
Raphael and his contemporaries and successors, had, member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
according to Mr. Ruskin, erred and strayed from the true path. “ All their principles tended to the setting
of beauty (so-called) above truth, and seeking for it at II. THE PRE-RAPHAELITE PERIOD.
the expense of truth; and the proper punishment of Sir John Millais, as we have already remarked,
such pursuit, the punishment which all the laws of the has a great impatience of control, and a passion for
universe rendered inevitable, was that those who thus things that are new and striking. His proud spirit
pursued beauty should wholly lose sight of beauty." and original genius would not brook the trammels
Such was Ruskin's indictment. Into the merits which a series of artificial academical rules endeav
of the question one need not now enter. It will be ored to impose upon his art. It was obvious that
sufficient to remark that the truth lies, as it oftenest there must be a going back for the “temper of imi
does, in the golden mean-in other words, that it will tation, prosaic acceptance, pseudo-classicism and do
be found somewhere between the views put forward mestic materialism,” to the “temper of wonder, rey
by Mr. Ruskin and those which emanate from what erence and awe.” Three artists-William Holman
has been happily called the “Persian-carpet” school Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett of art criticism. Millais-resolved, therefore, to study nature as it ap
MILLAIS' PRE-RAPHAELITE WORKS. peared to them, and not as it appeared in the The principal works executed by Sir John Millais antique." Hence the formation of the Pre-Raphaelite while he was a Pre-Raphaelite Brother are a mystiBrotherhood, by which reference was given to the cal picture of Our Saviour” and “Ferdinand Lured works of those painters who preceded Raphael, and by Ariel ” (1850); “ Mariana in the Moated Grange" especially to the paintings of Giotto and Fra Angelico, and “The Woodman's Daughter" (1851), and “ The